Information on how your DNA may be used
(Courtesy of Sheryl Kelso)

A lot of companies are pushing DNA as a means of tracing families.  DNA has lots of possibilities and has proven invaluable in many instances.
See links below for what has been turning up with the latest DNA tests. There have been advancements, BUT not all are what you think. AND your DNA may not be used only for the purpose of tracing ancestors!

Before you plunk down several hundred dollars, to have your DNA tested, be aware of what it can do for your research, and what it is incapable of doing.

If you hope to prove you are related to your third great-grandmother, you will need viable DNA from her.  Without it, you cannot prove anything.  Your DNA may match up with another testor who claims to be descended from the same person.  However, if their research is not completely accurate, it's no better than copying that person's family tree from the internet.
When you submit your DNA, the company asks you to submit your family history along with it.  Is what you are sending totally accurate and validated?  If not, you are not doing your part and your errors and suppositions will foul other testors research!
Your DNA is compared with others who have sent in swabs and IF there is a match, you are linked to that person or persons.  If the matching testors have submitted family trees copied from others, it may or may not be accurate. 
Now, all you have is a match to another living person, with a questionable family tree, that may or may not belong with yours.  You have NOT connected to your third great-grandmother.
You could get lucky.....perhaps your living relative has research that has been proven through the DAR/SAR, with mountains of records and documents taking you back to your third or fourth great-grandparents.
Just don't count on it.  If you have a completely preserved hair or tooth from your ancestor, it may possess DNA that is preserved as well and can be tested.
Your only other option is to disinter your ancestors and pray for viable DNA in their bones or teeth.



If you are considering a DNA test, please read these articles from The Legal Genealogist FIRST:

Not Soup Yet

Noting Your DNA

A new 23andMe & You Experience

Playing With Percentages

DNA Disappointment

Those Pesky Percentages

The Changes at 23andMe



The term of the day:

The genetic genealogy glossary definition of haplogroup is “a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on the patrilineal or matrilineal line. Haplogroups are assigned letters of the alphabet, and refinements consist of additional number and letter combinations.”
Okay. Great. What’s that mean?
Basically, if you think of all humans who’ve ever lived as part of the human race as a family tree, our haplogroup is what branch of the tree we can park ourselves on.
Everybody — male and female — has at least one haplogroup: our maternal haplogroup, as defined by our mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). That’s the kind of DNA we all inherit from our mothers and that only females pass on to their children.2 Our mtDNA haplogroup, then, is the branch of the tree we’re sitting on when the roots go back to the first woman from whom we descend: our mother’s mother’s mother’s mother.3
By itself, the mtDNA haplogroup tells us a great deal about our very deep ancestry many generations, even thousands of years in the past. But it also has some information we can use right now. It can tell us, for example, if our direct maternal line is of recent African or Native American origin. Or whether you, like me, have a maternal line that’s plain vanilla European.
Note that the fact that my maternal line is plain vanilla European doesn’t rule out having some more interesting ancestor from Africa or with Native American origin — it just means it isn’t my direct maternal line. It’s not in the direct line from my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother.
Only one of the major genetic genealogy companies offers mtDNA testing: Family Tree DNA. When you test at the HVR1 or HVR1+2 levels, the test looks at enough of the genetic markers to tell you what broad branch you belong to, represented by a letter like K or H. To get the specific branch — or twig! — the full mitochondrial sequence test (FMS) tests the entire mitochondria.4
Men also have another haplogroup, carried in their YDNA. That’s the kind of DNA that only males have and that’s passed from father to son largely unchanged through the generations.5 The YDNA haplogroup, then, is the branch of the tree a male is sitting on when the roots go back to the first man from whom he descends: his father’s father’s father’s father.6
By itself, the YDNA haplogroup tells the tale of deep ancestry just as the mtDNA haplogroup does, can indicate specific types of recent ethnicity — and is particularly useful genealogically to help distinguish between groups of men of the same surname: in my own research, for example, we thought our Shew line might be related to a specific Pennsylvania Shew line until we found that our line was haplogroup I and the Pennsylvania line was haplogroup R. Different branches of the human family tree entirely.
You will get a prediction of your YDNA haplogroup when you test with 23andMe and can get very specific YDNA haplogroup data from YDNA testing with Family Tree DNA, the only major genetic genealogy company that offers YDNA tests.

1.ISOGG Wiki (http://www.isogg.org/wiki), “Haplogroup,” rev. 27 Dec 2016. ↩
2.Ibid., “Mitochondrial DNA tests,” rev. 15 Jan 2017. ↩
3.And so on back into time, often well before genealogical time. And see ibid., “Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup,” rev. 24 Sep 2017. ↩
4.Ibid., “Haplogroup,” rev. 27 Dec 2016. ↩
5.Ibid., “Y chromosome DNA tests,” rev. 4 Dec 2016. ↩
6.And so on back into time, often well before genealogical time. See also ibid., “Y-DNA Haplogroup ages”, rev. 19 Oct 2013. ↩
(Courtesy of Sheryl Kelso)

Our research group is going Hi-Tech!


(From our Layman-Crowe site ~ September, 2004)

"It will be a year this October that this family research site was started. At that time we had listed as one of our top priorities, to find the Parentage of Morris Winebrenner and the true maiden name of his wife Hannah. As of this date after many hours of searching available documents posted on websites and personal correspondence with other family members this goal still remains un-reached. This is not too surprising as the further back in time our research takes us there are less written documentation and a lack of living relatives to supply information. Not living in the location of our ancestors makes us have to rely on both of these methods of research. A few weeks ago I was posting the news of the debut of our new site ourbrickwalls.com on all the messages boards. While I was at it I took the opportunity to check out what people were talking about. I had seen postings before about the Crow/Crowe DNA study before but never looked into it. Since another subject had popped up on our Crowe forum a few months back about William Crow and whether Jacob was really a son of William I started to ponder if this could help. So I wrote Philip Crow and asked a few questions. I asked how they got DNA from an ancestor (this I had to know) to start the tracking with. Philip wrote back saying that they didn’t get DNA from ancestors but use the DNA from a living relative who could provide documentation back to their oldest ancestor and then a marker is set for the family line of that ancestor. I also checked what family lines were represented. While there was only one Crow line from Cecil Co. Maryland there was the family of George Philip Groh/Crow that I have seen people connecting William Crow with which caught my eye. So I decided to ask my youngest brother if he would provide the needed Y chromosome for the test and he agreed. Here is the website where all the family charts and people participating are listed. There is also a description on the Y-DNA25 kit I choose to go with. There is a discount offered to people who go through one of the family groups that are already participating."

Research results for all CROWE/CROWE DNA tests can be found here:

Crow 2000 DNA chart


Crow 2000 DNA

"The other thing that caught my eye was this below: 'Ethnic and Geographic Origins: All Y-DNA tests allow you to identify your ethnic and geographic origins, both recent and far distant on your direct male descending line. Among others, you will be able to check your Native-American or African Ancestry as well as for the Cohanim Ancestry.' I called the lab to check into this. As you know I have been pondering about how far back the Indian ancestry goes in the Crowe/Winebrenner family, and if this may be why we cannot find a surname for Hannah. I was told since the Indian ancestry was on the grandmother’s side that it would not show on my brother’s Y-DNA test. The person who should test for the grandmother’s side had to be from one of Mary Ann Winebrenners’ daughters and then female down to the present generation. Well guess who fit the ticket, our cousin Genie! So she has submitted her DNA to the cause. Both tests were sent off to the lab on Friday so now it’s just sit back and wait to see what kind of results we get. Genie has started a topic for discussion on our new sister site if you want to voice your options. All results will be posted on OurBrickWalls.com when they come back, which should take aprox. 6 weeks."